Currently on view in the Hoffman Galleries at the Dallas Museum of Art
are two installations of important contemporary work drawn from the Museums collections as well as a collection of six Luc Tuymans works from the Dallas community. Mass and Material: Sculpture Since the 1960s explores the work of artists who have played a key role in redefining the language of sculpture since the 1960s. Each of the objects and installations included in the exhibition explores a defining moment in the sculptural practice of the artists who created them. Accompanying this installation is Focus On: Bruce Nauman, a concise exhibition that follows the progression of Nauman from his early years as an art student in the 1960s to the present. Both installations are composed of works from the Museums collection of contemporary art and loans from the Dallas community.
The Dallas Museum of Art, as well as the Dallas community, has an impressive holding of contemporary work, said Bonnie Pitman, The Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. The three installations in the Hoffman Galleries showcase the passion Dallas has for contemporary art beginning in the 1960s and highlights the collections of the future with work from the artist Luc Tuymans.
Mass and Material: Sculpture Since the 1960s features work by artists Barry Le Va, Charles Ray, and Bruce Nauman, among others. Working independently, these artists began to dismantle the idea of what sculpture meant in the mid-1960s, utilizing unconventional materials such as felt, sand, concrete, industrial steel and lead to rethink traditional notions of mass and space. These artists disregarded traditional notions of sculpture, moving their work off the plinth or platform into situations that occupied the space of the viewer, or invited the viewer into a different spatial dialogue with the object. Mirrors and Shelly Sand by Robert Smithson and Cut, Placed Parallel by Barry Le Va exemplify these ideas and both are on view as part of Mass and Material: Sculpture Since the 1960s.
The recent gift of an important early work by Bruce Nauman, Untitled (Lead Piece with Wedge), 1968, served as the catalyst for this installation and is the centerpiece of an exhibition focused exclusively on Naumans work in an adjacent gallery within the Hoffman Galleries.
Focus On: Bruce Nauman showcases the various media the artist has used over the past four decades, including his own body, rubber and fiberglass, as well as film and video, to create a challenging body of work.
Nauman has used the evocative power of language in drawings, neon installations and video scripts, restructuring words to create puns and oxymorons that dismantle and reshape meaning. Perfect Door/Perfect Odor/Perfect Rodo is a perfect example of Naumans exploration of art expressed simultaneously as both an idea and a form, and his desire to engage the viewer intellectually and visually.
At times, his work can appear aggressive or intentionally grating, such as Good Boy/Bad Boy, stated Jeffrey Grove, The Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. But much of his work addresses the situation of the artist toiling alone in the studio, confronting the making of his art. This is perhaps one of the reasons Nauman is seen today as such an important influence on and inspiration to so many contemporary artists.
Luc Tuymans in Dallas Collections is also currently on view in the Hoffman Galleries in conjunction with Luc Tuymans, the first U.S. retrospective of the artists work. Luc Tuymans spans every phase of the artists career and features approximately 75 key paintings from 1978 to the present. It is fitting that the first U.S. retrospective of painting by Luc Tuymans should be presented in Dallas. The Museum and the Dallas community have in a few short years assembled an impressive collection of the artists work. The six paintings on view in the Hoffman Gallery reveal the richness and variety of Tuymans techniquehow he treats different genres, including still life, landscapes and portraiture, in a manner both direct and enigmaticand complement the Luc Tuymans exhibition by providing additional insight into his work.
Luc Tuymans in Dallas Collections, Mass and Material: Sculpture Since the 1960s, and Focus On: Bruce Nauman are curated by Jeffrey Grove, The Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. All three installations will remain on view through October 24, 2010. The exhibition Luc Tuymans, organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Wexner Center for the Arts, is on view through September 5, 2010.